Orlando-bound: sunrise over the Turnpike
Doing it big!
On permanent watering restrictions since 2010 (one or two days a week depending on the time of year) and actively fining violators regardless of watering source (potable or ground), Orange County (OC) is serious about water conservation. In this context, early last year OC agreed to a multi-year study to assess the water-savings potential of smart irrigation control devices – in this case soil moisture sensors (SMS) and on-site, evapotranspiration-based (ET) timers.
The more things change...: potable water waste at Orlando commercial property
In the initial stages, the water-use history of thousands of properties was analyzed, but only several hundred advanced to the survey-taking phase. From there, even less qualified for physical irrigation system assessment by researchers and subsequent invitation to participate in the project.
OCU furnishes the water-use data from smart meters installed at research sites
The sweetest plum
SMS add-on device wired to a residential automated timer
One fascinating aspect of the study involves the latter treatments described above. Properties with SMS and ET technology also vary with respect to how much engagement they had with UF staff. While some homeowners were shown how their technology works and various adjustment options; others were sent information through the mail and left at the mercy of the user’s guide and the device-installing contractor.
Research site: turf worth writing home about
Home under study: project-issued restriction exemption
Enter the dragon...(or me)
Insssspecting SMS wiring in a valve box
Auto-calibration, step 1: saturate suspected TDT sensor location
Auto-calibration, step 2: engage the SMS auto-calibration feature
My additional OCP tasks include massaging water-use data, attending to homeowners with ET timer gripes, and conducting periodic turf quality assessments – old hat for a tech forged in the water-wasting badlands of Miami-Dade. As of last week, all SMS properties have been visited and the first round of auto-calibrations is complete.
Note to self: don't report this property